The counterfeit brake pad raid has a lot of technicians, shops and consumers asking how can they tell if what is in the box matches the pads or did someone pull the old switcheroo like what happened in New Jersey and New York. There is a way to tell, but it is not foolproof.
Just about every brake pad or shoe you install has a cryptic code printed on the side of the friction material. As a technician, being able to read this code is just as important as the Dewy Decimal system is to a librarian.
The “Edge Code” can tell you information about the product you are about to install including the cold and hot friction levels and often who made it. Edge Code is a language written by engineers, federal entities and industry associations. Like any language, edge coding has its own “grammar.”
The first few letters usually indicate the manufacturer. Some companies use their full name or a two or three letter acronym. Some companies print a logo on shim or backing plate.
Deciphering the letters can be difficult and you need a key.
Click this link to download a PDF: AMECA List of Edge Codes
Using the edge code list I can tell this brake pad was made by OE Quality Friction, Inc. But, the it was in a box from Advance Auto Parts, which brings up another point. Many brake pad brands are not manufactured by the name that is on the box. Some of this products are sold under “private labels” like WearEver or DuraLast. But, these companies or retailers selling the pads usually make an effort to put their name somewhere on the pad. The same is true for some brake lines that source premium friction materials and specific pad sets for difficult applications.